Fenil and Bollywood

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IN TELLYLAND: Shah Rukh Khan, AkshayKumar and (top) Rani Mukerji with guest Shahid Kapoor, Salman Khan and Karisma Kapur on their TV shows
How worthwhile has it been for channels putting Bollywood stars on TV?

ROSHNI K OLIVERA Times News Network (BOMBAY TIMES; January 4, 2010)

Abhishek Bachchan is stepping into his father’s shoes by hosting a game show on TV. What prompted Bachchan Jr. to give a nod to the small screen? Was it a lucrative offer? Perhaps, because it’s money that draws film stars to television. Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Rani Mukerji, Karisma Kapur… the list is endless of Bollywood stars who made the big crossover.

Akshay, reports said, was paid a whopping Rs 2.5 crore per episode to host the second season of Khatron ke Khiladi. And Salman Khan was apparently given Rs 89 crore for the first season of Dus Ka Dum! It’s big money all right for the stars, but is it worthwhile for the channels to shell out such big bucks for the star value?

Statistics prove that shows with Bollywood stars have never topped the overall Television Rating Points (TRP) charts. Only Amitabh Bachchan’s Kaun Banega Crorepati, that changed the face of Indian television years ago, saw TRP success. All other shows hosted or judged by stars have raked in average or dismal TRPs. Yes, there is a fair amount of curiosity and people are bound to watch the show at least once for the star’s sake, but after that it’s content that sells. Meanwhile, TV actors are unhappy with the ‘filmi’ invasion but will not complain openly for fear of antagonising the channels. “Does it make any sense to pay film stars in crores? No show has zoomed up the TRP charts,” said a popular TV actress. “The TRPs that these stars have got, after the initial few episodes and special episodes, is the same that any other anchor has got! Did Rani’s presence lift the show up so much… wouldn’t it have been the same if it was somebody else? And what big difference did Karisma make?” Another veteran actor added, “In the name of recession TV actors had to go through paycuts, but film stars on TV continued to rake in the moolah!”

Channels have their reasoning. Programming head Ashvini Yardi explained, “We go in for film stars for three reasons: It boosts perception… the brand image of the star rubs on to the channel. For instance, having Akshay’s show gives the channel a fresh, adventurous and risk-taking image. Second, reality shows help bring in a fresh audience, especially the men and youth, who are not regular soap watchers. Also, shows with film stars rake in huge money in terms of advertisements.” What’s important though, pointed out Ashvini, is to make the right choice while choosing a film star. “The show has to go with the star’s brand,” she said. TV serial producers, however, believe that since it’s serials that hold the top slot in the number game, more attention should be paid to them. “Instead of cutting down on our budgets, channels should cut down on paying so much to film stars,” grumbled a TV director. Producer-director Rajan Shahi’s glad that top film stars are now also TV stars. “I hope TV stars get the same treatment in films,” he said. Talking about B-town’s foray on the small screen, he added, “I’m sure taking film stars has some benefit that channels see. In the past film stars have given huge TRPs… may be the magic will work again. For me, Rakhi Sawant has been the most successful film actor in terms of success on TV.”
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Telugu star Rana Daggubati to make his Bollywood debut in Rohan Sippy’s film on the drug racket in Goa

By Subhash K Jha (MUMBAI MIRROR; January 02, 2010)


Producer-director Rohan Sippy’s gritty, hard-hitting film on the drug racket in Goa, inspired by Hollywood’s Traffic, has finally found a second hero.

The role, which was initially offered to Farhan Akhtar and Emraan Hashmi, has now gone to Rana Daggubati, the Telugu star-on-the-rise, based in Hyderabad. Abhishek Bachchan is playing the lead role in the film.

Rana is a rage in the Telugu film industry after he made his acting debut with the hard-hitting political thriller, Leader. He was chosen to play Abhishek Bachchan’s co-star because he fit the bill.

A source says, “It is the character of a Goan musician. When Rohan saw Rana’s picture, he was stuck by how Goan the Telugu actor looked. The Sippys saw Rana’s film, Leader, and knew he was right. The role is as powerful as Abhishek’s.”

The formalities were completed last week. Incidentally, Rana is not new to the film world. He comes from an illustrious film family. His grandfather is Andhra-based producer D Rama Naidu (who has produced 110 films including superhits in Hindi like Prem Nagar and Tohfa). His father is a distinguished producer Suresh Babu, while his uncle is the popular Telugu star Venkatesh.

Rana will now be another South Indian actor trying his luck in Hindi films after the likes of Kamal Haasan. Rajnikant, Chiranjeevi and Rana’s uncle, Venkatesh (who was launched opposite Karisma Kapoor in Anari by his father D Rama Naidu in 1993).

Rohan Sippy confirmed the casting, “Yes, I have signed Rana for the film I am directing.”

Source: IBOS

BY SUBHASH K JHA

Raat Gayi Baat Gayi
Starring Rajat Kapoor, Neha Dhupia,Irawati Harshe, Vinay Pathak,Anuradha Menon, Dalip Tahil ,Navneet Nishan, Aamir Bashir
Directed by Saurabh Shukla
Rating: ***

Somewhere on the second-half of this slightly seductive jigsaw about a one-night scam, filmmaker Sudhir Mishra shows up as Neha Dhupia’s father who drops in to have a chat with his sullen sultry daughter on the way to the airport. Little does the stoic Mishra know beti-babe has two men stashed away in a cupboard in the living room that looks consciously like a prop on a stage- set.

Quirky sex comedies are allowed their moments of eccentricity. Last time we saw a benevolent patriarch stop over in transit was Sanjay Dutt in Rohit Shetty’s comedy All The Best.

Maybe at this point Shukla deliberately wanted to introduce an element of staged comedy.After all, isn’t the world a stage? Shakespeare got there first. But hell. Saurabh Shukla is panting from behind to catch Sheakespeare’s comedy of ‘eros’ in a modern context.

Saurabh Shukla(who can be quite a funny-guy on demand) has made a quirky sometimes-crisp sometimes-placid look-see at marriage and infidelity. The seductively – paced work is set at a party hosted by a loud Punjabi clueless woman(played with much gusto by Navneet Nishan) whose amiable husband Dalip Tahil we soon come to know, is cheating on his plump wife with the svelte seductress on the block played by Neha Dhupia who seems to invite more male attention than is healthy for any girl with a respectable appetite. And we aren’t talking about her tummy.

Tahil isn’t alone. Vinay Pathak(playing the goofy slightly stupid and undiplomatic regular guy once again) is cheating on his wife Anuradha Menon(the hilarious Veejay Lola trying hard not to be funny,and succeeding) by checking out porn on the internet.

“At your age?” tut-tuts Tahil before himself being caught with his pants down. Though nothing much up at his age.

But our main potential philanderer is Rahul( Rajat Kapoor,as suave in his sleaziness as ever), married to the sullen Irawati Harshe who befriends the all-round resident siren(Dhupia) at a party , gets drunk and then forgets whether he actually did anything naughty or not. Hangover, anyone?

“I can do it even when I’m drunk, no problem there,” Rahul (Rajat Kapoor)says vainly to his porn-fed pal.One of the problems here is that everyone speaks in Hindi because…well, they’re part of a Hindi film when they’re characters who would be comfortable in English. Having said this and that, the characters seem to be effortlessly conscious of their authentic bearings. None of the performers strays from the not-so-straight and borrowed path of betrayal, deception and infidelity.

The Rahul-Mitali marriage has a twist in its tail at the end. It doesn’t shock you. It just makes you sigh. Saurabh Shukla’s direction embarks on a journey through one night of steamy sensations. The revelations are hardly shocking, just diverting.

Stylishly cut(Sankalp Meshram’s editing is amazing in its austerity) the material’s chic movement doesn’t quite justify the content. But the narrative has moments that spill out the acerbity underlining urban marriages which are at best functional and at their worst, lies told to keep up an appearance of domestic smoothness.

The film exudes the scent of intelligence and competence. The actors all know their jobs. Most of them have earlier been through this kind of sexual-moral dilemma in some form or the other. The cutting edge is missing . But the proceedings never get cumbersome.

Arun Dutt asks Anurag Kashyap to tone down the controversial details about his father Guru Dutt’s personal life in his script

By Vickey Lalwani (MUMBAI MIRROR; December 26, 2009)


Anurag Kashyap is facing a serious hurdle. As he writes the biopic on the late Guru Dutt, the legend’s son Arun has raised objections. He has asked Anurag to tone down the controversial portions of Dutt’s personal life.

The untitled project is said to focus on the late filmmaker’s failed marriage to singer Geeta Dutt, his alleged affair with Waheeda Rehman and the uncanny circumstances surrounding Geeta’s death at the age of 41. The film will be directed by Shivendra Dungarpur.

(L): Geeta Dutt (R): Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman


A source says, “It is natural for Arun to tell Anurag that he can’t go all out in his script. Certain portions, if not handled well, might turn out to be in bad taste.”

Arun confirmed that he had laid down a few dos and don’ts about the details regarding his father’s life. He says, “That’s right. I don’t want the personal details to be sensationalised. Otherwise, I have no problem. Shivendra has done a lot of research on my father and this film is very close to his heart. Munnir Kabir (a writer and TV producer)

Anurag Kashyap

wants to make a film on my dad too. That will focus around 1957, when my dad made Pyaasa. But Anurag’s script focuses on my dad’s entire life.”

Whe Kashyap finishes his script, he will show it to Arun. “He will ask Kashyap to incorporate any changes,” the source added.  Anurag  remained unavailable for comment.

Bollywood is coming out with creative, out of the box films and the year 2009 is a witness to it. Paa is one such film that can also be safely termed as ‘most unique film of 2009’. Of course, the USP is undoubtedly Amitabh Bachchan’s wonderful portrayal as a 12/13 year old kid. But that alone isn’t the only thing that makes the flick special. The execution by R Balki is marvelous and the film would have surely fallen like a pack of cards if the treatment wasn’t appropriate. Paa, thus, works well and is definitely a must watch!

The story of the movie: Auro (Amitabh Bachchan) is a 12 year old suffering from a rare genetic disease, progeria which results in accelerated ageing. So although he’s just 12, his body age is 5 times more. But Auro is witty, mischievous and intelligent and just like any other school going student of his age. He lives with his mother, Vidya (Vidya Balan), a gynecologist and Vidya’s mom (Arundhati Nag). All three are living happily but one day their world turns upside down when Auro comes to face to face with his own father, MP Amol Atre (Abhishek Bachchan). But both Auro and Amol are unaware of each other’s ‘connection’.

Paa is simply made and the film grips you from the first scene itself. Auro and Amol’s entry in the narrative is highly impressive. The innovative projects made by the students and Amol’s beautiful speech in the school instantly put a smile on your face. Also note how very less time is reserved for the flashback portions and the focus of the story is entirely on the star of the film-Auro and his paa!

However, the film deviates from the main plot in the first half in the slum redevelopment track. But trust me, it was damn interesting and you’ll silently wish if the politicians of our country were such visionaries and witty.

However, the second half won’t give any reason to complain. Auro’s reaction after finding out the truth and the time he spends with his paa in Delhi is supremely rocking! The pre-climax, when one of the main characters finds out the truth could have been more impactful. But the final 10 minutes which is beautifully directed and leaves the strongest mark, compensates for it.

Although the film is titled Paa, the film doesn’t only focus on the father-son relationship. It wonderfully showcases the child’s relations with his mom, grandmom and also with his classmates, the latter being the cutest! Also, the film isn’t made to only evoke sympathy on progeric patients. Throughout the film, Auro is being treated as any other normal child by everyone around him and this also works a lot in the favour of the film.

There is not a drop of doubt about Amitabh Bachchan’s performance. He was marvelous and outstanding-even this doesn’t justify his well performed job! One forgets that one is actually watching Amitabh Bachchan on screen. The way he speaks like an adolescent and also behaves like one is just amazing and leaves you in awe and shock. And the look given to him is actually quite cute! However, the performance wouldn’t have worked solely with great work by make-up artistes. It was Amitabh’s great work that makes the character believable and lovable. Kudos to Big B-keep shining, keep rocking!

The characterization of Big B as Auro is so strong that you even forget all the past performances of other actors. Abhishek Bachchan simply rocks as the young cool politician and builds up a strong position to himself throughout the film. After Guru and Dostana, this is yet another memorable performance of Abhishek. Watch out for him in another rocking performance in his next, Raavana!

Vidya Balan is a relevation. She gives a brilliant performance, of the same level that she delivered in Parineeta. Watch her in Paa and you’ll forget all about her disastrous period that she faced 2 years back. She is expected to please everyone in her next Ishqiya too!

Arundhati Nag was perfect. Paresh Rawal was fine in his miniscule role. Pratik, who plays Auro’s buddy Vishnu, was excellent and provides laughter in some scenes. Taruni Sachdev, the girl who terrified Auro throughout the film was amazing! Also, Kiran Shah, who played the 5 year old Auro did a great job in his one scene. Kudos to Vidya for lifting this 53 kg old on his shoulder in one of the scenes!

Ilaiyaraja’s music was soulful and melodious. Songs are there in the film but doesn’t hamper the pace of the film-the story moves during the film too. Mudi Mudi is the best song of the lot. Mere Paa, sung by Big B deserved to get a better focus in the film. Background score was cute and mischievous, just like Auro!

P C Sreeram’s cinematography was top notch. Christien Tinsley and Domini Till, the makeup artistes, deserve the highest praise for transforming a 66 year old actor into a 12 year old child! Hats off!

Finally, R Balki deserves the highest praise for coming up with such a wonderful film and making complete use of the opportunity provided to him. As a director he was perfect and it was nice to see the quick editing done in certain scenes so that the film doesn’t drag at any moment. But as a writer, he could have done a better job, especially in the flashback portions of Abhishek and Vidya. But he impresses most as the dialogue writer. Dialogues and wittiest one-liners are the best part of the enterprise! Also, the toilet jokes which are a complete put-off at times are hugely funny in the film!

There were reports that Paa is a copy of The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button and a section of moviegoers even believed this. By now, the truth is out Paa is miles away from the Hollywood flick. But it’s really sad to see our media and some moviegoers are always waiting for an opportunity to thrash Bollywood and its films. Our industry churns pathetic films at times but it also comes up with sweet films like Paa. Let’s not always act and think so negatively about Bollywood. And now there are reports that Akshay Kumar and Aishwarya Rai’s next, Action Replay, is Benjamin Button’s rip off without even knowing a single line of the plot of the film. Alas, some people don’t want to grow up ever!

Some of the best scenes of the film:
1. Amol at the school, looking at the projects and delivering a speech
2. Auro orders pickle from grandmom
3. Amol’s slum redevelopment track
4. Amol and Auro’s video chat
5. Auro all set to go to Delhi (you really feel sad for the poor kid here)
6. The intermission point
7. Vidya’s Hichki-ous justification
8. Amol and Auro’s trip to Delhi
9. The last 30 minutes

On the whole, Paa is a beautiful film, written wonderfully and performed outstandingly! Undoubtedly, it’s a must watch! Go for it, if you haven’t seen it yet!

My rating-**** out of 5!

This review first appeared on MouthShut.com: http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Paa-181639-1.html

By Bollywood Hungama News Network, December 5, 2009 – 00:00 IST

RGV returns with Phoonk 2

Maverick filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma is ready with the sequel of Phoonk, titled Phoonk 2. The film has been directed by Milind Gadagkar, who had written the original version.

Launching the first look of the film, RGV Said, “When Milind Gadagkar the writer of Phoonk came up with the idea of Phoonk 2, the opening sequence itself made me jump up in my seat. The moment I read the entire script I was convinced that he should direct the film as I was amazed at the clarity he had in detailing of the story.”

Comparisons between the two films are inevitable, to which he replies, “In spite of Phoonk’s hit status quite a few people say that it’s not a scary film and there is a reason for that. Scare can be of two kinds, where one is of a kind which scares you due to a completely helpless situation you catch yourself in, and the other which just plain scares your senses. Bhoot falls in the 2nd category whereas Phoonk falls in the 1st one. Phoonk 2 also falls in the 2nd category where its intention is as plain and simple – to just scare the audience’s pants off.”

On choosing the horror genre for his first film, debutante director Milind Gadagkar says, “Ever since I can remember, I have always been a huge fan of the horror genre and the psychosis of fear. Fear is such a strong emotion that it defies all logic. As small children we are scared of entering a dark room; somewhere further in life, we rather try and avoid isolated roads with no street lights.”

“It is not just ghosts that we are scared of but there are times in our lives when a strange and inexplicable incident also scares the hell out of us. Studying this phenomenon of fear has always intrigued me. All said and done, I am really thrilled that inspite of me not having liked Phoonk, Ramu liked Phoonk 2,” Milind concludes.

When asked if he was satisfied with Milind’s treatment of the film, RGV said, “When I saw the 1st cut of what Milind showed me of the film, I told him that it’s not only far better than Phoonk but I think it is the scariest film Bollywood has ever made and it is miles above all my so-called scary films like Bhoot, etc and I mean every word of it from my spine onwards….. Chilling!”

RGV even lets out a bit of the story, “If the entire Phoonk story was about how this evil woman who practices black magic was bent upon torturing and killing a little girl in order to make her father suffer and how the father after desperately trying every measure manages to get a tantrik who kills the evil woman, Phoonk-2 starts off with the spirit of the evil woman coming back from the dead and brutally murdering the tantrik.”

The film has been made in three languages, Hindi, Tamil (Bommai-2) and Telugu (Aavaham). Looks like audiences can await one chilly ride with Phoonk 2.

John Abraham recently bought a new property worth Rs 19 crore at Khar

By Santosh Andhale (MUMBAI MIRROR;November 27, 2009)


John Abraham has good reason to be excited. He has just acquired a new property at Union Park, Khar. John paid Rs 19 crore to become the owner of Green Acre building, a four-storey structure with a built-up area of 10,481 sq feet.

The building stands just beside the bungalow of a well-known builder.

John currently lives at Hiten Apartments at Bandra West with his parents while his Bandstand bachelor pad is being done up by his father and brother, both architects.

According to sources, he might decide to shift to his new property, probably after replacing the four-storied building with a swanky bungalow.

Recently, John was spotted at the Bandra Kurla Complex base property registration office, where he had come with his mother Phiroza Abraham to register the new property.

He bought Green Acre building, situated at Union Park Road No.5, from Parvez Ratanshah, Havovi Khanna and Bhanu Ratanshah. They were seen with him at the registration office.

John paid Rs 95 lakh as stamp duty and Rs 60,000 as registration charges.

When we tried to contact people living around John’s new acquisition, most said they did not know anything about the deal. However, Narayan Rajput, sub-registrar Class II, confirmed the news that John had visited the registration office to complete formalities for the Khar property on October 8. “He also posed for photographs with fans,” said Rajput.

John was unavailable for comment.

pic: nilesh wairkar

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